Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Mouse with a taste for energy bars

Not very exciting holiday plans yesterday as the goal was to tidy the garage and make a trip to the tip with all the rubbish that I had accumulated and stored there over the last few months.

Part of the clear up involved going through my cycling gear and to make a decision as to 'keep', 'sell' or 'dump'. I use an old wardrobe to store the cycling gear away from all the other clutter in the garage and out of the reach of the children. Although, as I found out yesterday, not out of the reach of our resident mouse who somehow found a way in and then had a bit of a nibble on a total of six energy bars. I wasn't impressed - shame it didn't have a go at my gas cannisters that I use to inflate my tyres - that would have given it a bit of a headache, although probably left a nasty mess to clear up.

Anyway back to the serious subject of training. Last week I managed three runs (easy, strength and negative-split), a one-way commute on the bike (approx. 30km) and a Club swim. Still low volume but at least covering all three sports.

I intend to average around 8 hours per week over the next 1-2 months (base period) and then increase to 10-12 hours in the new year.

This week is looking as follows:

Mon: Strength work 0:30 / Bike - turbo: high cadence sets 0:30 [Done]
Tue:  Bike - Brigthon Commute (hilly route / easy return) 2:00
Wed: Run - 5km timed test + warm up / cool down 0:45
Thu (in Leeds): Run - interval set 0:45
Fri (in Leeds): Run - easy 1:00
Sat: Club swim 1:00
Sun: Bike - long easy ride / MTB 2:00

A little hard to manage this week because of 2-3 days in Leeds on business. Unfortunately the hotel has no gym or pool but I do intend to take the running shoes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Back into running - nice and easy does it

It feels like a long time (probably only 3 weeks) since I completed a proper run but early this morning I was back out there doing a loop of one of my favourite routes - from Brighton Marina along the undercliff pass to Saltdean Lido and up over the cliffs for the return journey. Only a 9km loop, which I completed in 55 minutes - nice and easy - mostly zone 1 at a slow pace of 6 minutes per km. I sped up at one point to get the pace below 5 minutes, just to remind myself I could still do it, but did not overdo it.

Fortunately I did not experience any pain, neither from my coccyx or right heal (injuries I picked up after being knocked off my bike). The plan is to build back up with some strength work, short intervals and get back to my normal 5 and 10km race times, so I can enter some local races during the winter months.

During this morning's run I used the opportunity to catch up with a couple of podcasts that I enjoy. Interestingly both were about the same subject - discussions around carbohydrate vs. fat. The commentators both came to the same conclusion in that they thought to much emphasis is placed on eating and using carbohydrate for the main energy source when are bodies should be using fat. Apparently your carbohydrate reserves provide around 2,000 calories of energy whereas a typical athlete (body fat less than 20%) could get as much as 17,000 calories of energy from fat - enough for 3 Ironman events!

They were quite critical of the 'low-fat diet' and the increase in sugar intake over recent years. There does seem to be more and more evidence for the Paleo type diet, not simply for weight reasons but also greater efficiency in training (better 'bang for your buck').

I think I eat a relatively well-balanced diet and where possible try to minimise the processed foods and sugary snacks, however I still have cereal for breakfast (normally something like Special K) with a banana sliced on top, and often grab a bagel and peanut butter for a mid-morning snack. I also eat a fair amount of pasta, rice and brown bread - may be it is time to do a bit more research on the alternatives.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Cycling adventures

After a week of light training at least I finished with a bit of a spurt.

On Friday I attended a 1.5 hour special spin session at the Pedalstudio in Wimbledon. Coach MT took the class, which was a bit of a psychological rollercoaster! The theme was 'Myths and Legends' - Mont Ventoux and included video and great pictures on both the fantastic climb and legendary cyclists. Tom Simpson featured highly.

Coach MT wove a story around his presentation, displayed on large screens, and cleverly incorporated it within a tough spinning session and the Mont Ventoux climb. He vividly portrayed his own personal experience of the climb, including all the painful parts, which helped to bring the spin session to life. I really did feel I was on the climb.

During the ride a number of stats were displayed on TV screens including HR data and % of max HR for all to see.
For most of the session the entire class was at 85% plus of max HR. As there were over 20 riders in the relatively small studio the temperature soared and I lost a considerable amount of fluid from sweating - not pleasant. Despite the temperature and considerable pain (Coach MT encouraged 'mind over matter' techniques) it was an enjoyable experience and a novel way to conduct a spin class, which I would thoroughly recommend.

Saturday morning and I was back in the pool for a Club swim, which involved a bit of everything - individual medley sets, hypoxic breathing, pyramid sets and some speed work. There was not much time for chatting with the Club members in my lane, just simply down to the serious business of training.

Sunday morning was going to be a light run - I felt that my body had finally repaired itself following the bike crash. However, I was offered the opportunity to cycle with Chris and Graeme, which I jumped at - always enjoy a Club ride with the boys.

At my request Chris selected a very scenic route on some wonderful back roads around Chichester and Petworth.
We were out for just over 2 hours and kept a reasonably decent speed going throughout, albeit there was a fair amount of climbing and friendly chatter throughout.

Once I have downloaded the route and data to Training Peaks from my Garmin I will add the link to this blog for review - a great little ride for anyone cycling in the area.

The plan this week is to slowly incorporate the running back into the schedule - I am quite excited and looking forward to my first run (hopefully Tuesday morning) - let's hope the body holds up.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Withdrawal symptoms - need exercise!

Since the long Sunday ride I have not done any training (a part from a few dynamic stretches) and I am now getting withdrawal symptoms and craving exercise.

I had intended to take Monday as a rest day, still slightly taking it easy post the recent bike crash and minor pain in my coccyx and right heal.

Tuesday was supposed to be an easy ride to work and back but it didn't seem to come together for whatever reasons. Last night I was definitely on for the Club swim; however I attended a very interested seminar in Brighton, which overrun and made it difficult to make the Club swim on time. All in all quite feeble excuses and I am positive that if I really had wanted to train I could have found a way. To be honest I really don't like being injured (who does) but do not wish to jump straight back into it and cause further problems.

Anyway I am down for a very interesting session tomorrow evening, which I am looking forward to. Coach MT who is a 'Master Spinning Instructor' (he teaches the instructors) has a special spin class titled Myths and Legends: Mont Ventoux at the Pedal Studio in Wimbledon. I just so happen to be in London tomorrow afternoon so had the perfect opportunity to attend. I understand that during the 1.5 hour spin session our HR and stats will be displayed on a large board for all to see and a motivational presentation / video / music is planned to help keep the adrenalin going. It all sounds very exciting and something I have never done before - I will report back in due course.

Saturday morning will be back in the pool. I then hope on Sunday I may be able to get in some further biking and possibly an easy run to break me back in gently - let's see.

Hope everyone else is training well and getting out and just 'doing it'!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Dorking Sportive - a beautiful day for a ride

Managed some more swim tests on Saturday morning, including 14x 100m with 10secs rest between sets. Relatively consistent times between 1:37 and 1:45 recorded.

Saturday evening I was on the dance floor at a friend's 50th Birthday bash - showcasing my moves, which was certainly not the best preparation for a long sportive ride the following day.

After 20mins on the dance floor the recent injuries from the bike crash were playing a bit of havoc with my body and I began questioning whether I was ready for a long bike session.

On the Sunday morning the conditions were perfect for a bike ride in the Surrey Hills so I decided to at least give it a go. The great thing with a Sportive is they are generally informal and there would be no problem cutting the route short during the day and subject to my fitness / injuries.

Although there was certainly a nip on the air it was a great to be out on the bike. My recently replaced front mech worked flawlessly and I was pleased with my choice of winter clothing, including gloves, full-length cycling tights and overshoes.

The route was constantly 'up and down' and as a result quite challenging. One of the toughest hills (18%) had a sign that read - 'Pain is weakness leaving the body'.

After over five hours in the saddle and over 125km in the bank I headed for home with thoughts of the Sunday roast in mind.

All credit to Charlie who stayed on for another hill or two. He was like a whippet up the hills!

A day to recover tomorrow and probably more time on the bike later in the week. I hope to be running again shortly.

Garmin link to stats and route: http://www.trainingpeaks.com/av/3GXMGEHZH3P7XVWJJGBYOUDK2E

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Swim Tests

My backside and right heel are still a little sore (post bike crash) so my training this week will be limited to swimming and the big bike ride on Sunday.

Last night was the 1:30 Club swim session and the Coach wanted further data on lane times to ensure athletes are swimming in the correct lane.

There are a number of younger and stronger swimmers coming up through the ranks and it is inevitable that at some time I may be better suited to a slightly slower lane. I am currently swimming twice a week, which is probably sufficient to maintain my swim fitness / technique but not enough to improve it. There were a few weeks in the run up to IM Austria that I was swimming on Mon, Wed, Sat and Sun.

Fortunately I think my times in yesterday's swim tests were enough to keep me in Lane 3. I don't wish to go down to Lane 4 just yet, even if there is not much difference between the two.

Anyway the swim tests were as follows:

The first, a simple timed swim at race speed or above, was over 400m. I was lucky to be following two stronger swimmers with big kicks so drafting made perfect sense. I successfully kept on the toes of the swimmer ahead of me and completed the swim in 6:35, which is well above my normal race pace.

The next test was a continual swim for 20mins. We were encouraged to pass weaker swimmers in the lane. I also planned to use drafting to my advantage. The Coach asked us to count the laps we completed, which he would log. There was a slight difference opinion on times but most of my lane completed 1,100m in the scheduled times. This sounded about right and put my average 100m time at around 1:45-1:48. There were times when there was a bit of bunching but for the most part I swam a decent pace.

Given I had missed a couple of swim sessions last week I was quite pleased with my performance. Whether I do move lanes will be down to the Coach. Either way I will make an effort to at least maintain my swim fitness and hopefully improve it further in next season.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Trying to get back to normality

Tried an easy run this morning - the body worked OK, although still feeling a little soreness in my right heel. Probably as a result of the severe bruising I incurred from my cycle accident last week.

The bike is in the shop, hopefully getting put back together. I expect I will need a new back wheel at the minimum but won't hear to later this week.

Until the bruising in my foot has completely healed I and going to lay off the running for the time being. My plans are to swim on Wednesday and Saturday with a long sportive ride on Sunday (100 mile - hilly route around Dorking).

I have finally replaced the front mech on my road bike so at least that one is ready for action.

Will report back on the sportive for my next blog post.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Disaster strikes!

The morning started off so well - a beautiful commute into Brighton along the bottom of the Downs via Edburton, Fulking and Poynings before heading up over Devils Dyke and down into the city.

As I still need to fix my front mech on my road bike I was on the trusty singlespeed machine so as always climbing Devils Dyke was quite an effort. I did manage to stop for a couple of pictures (see below) - love those hills!

My legs felt a bit fatigued both from the hilly route and probably the recent half-marathon event at Barns Green. The plan was to take it easy on the commute home.

I ended up having to take a busier route home as I had to pick something up at Next in Shoreham for my son. After getting out of the store, at that time just beginning to lose the daylight, I made a point of turning on my high-powered front light and the bright flashing red rear light.

Only a hundred yards away from the store and whilst cycling around the busy Shoreham roundabout a car shot out and knocked me flying. It all happened so fast and before I knew it I found myself lying in the middle of the roundabout on my back with a very sore bottom.

Fortunately the 2 lanes of traffic stopped and the driver that hit me and a number of people passing by came to my aid. Despite the initial shock, severe pain in my backside and some assistance I moved to the side of the road to check out the damage. A bit of road rash - left ankle, elbows and knees but nothing too much to be worried about. My legs were OK, although my right heel was aching - I think I must have landed on my backside and put my right leg out to absorb the force. As for the bike one severely buckled back wheel (not sure if it can be fixed), the front slightly less so, some cosmetic damage to the seat, brake lever and handlebar but only minor - my poor baby!

On returning home (wifey came to rescue me in the car) I also found I had damaged my nice carbon soled road shoes, possibly beyond repair. Given some of the accidents that friends from the Club have been involved in recently I got off very lightly. I suppose if you cycle the distances I do and commute into a busy city the law of averages suggest you going to have an incident at some time, even if you make every effort to be safe and cycle sensibly.

So my training will take a back seat for the next few days to let the body recover. I will also make sure the trusty singlespeed gets the proper treatment to ensure it is good working order as soon as possible.

Keep safe out there guys - rubber side down!


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

End of Season thoughts

As the Barns Green half-marathon event officially ends my triathlon season for 2012 my thoughts over the last couple of days have been on both the season past and the year ahead.

There is no doubt about it that 2012 will go down in my own triathlon history book as a very significant year - my first Ironman completed in under my target time of 13 hours. The only slight negative with 2012 is that single race was all consuming and one of the main reasons I will be unlikely to compete in such a long distance event in 2013 (2014 - may be?)

So what about the season ahead - personally, I hope it will be a year of PBs. Building on my success and PB at Barns Green my intention is to race all distances up to half-ironman (70.3) and aim for PBs across the board. I expect my training will be much more purposeful and include a greater number of shorter higher-intensity sessions, looking for improving times. From Oct-Apr there will be a slight bias to running with a PB in the Brighton marathon in mind. Thereafter it is more about the bike. Improving swim technique and incorporating plenty of strength sessions will also be important throughout. Over the coming days I will start to put more structure around these end of season thoughts and share with you a more specific list of goals (SMART approach).

Until then I will keep you updated on my progress. Following Barns Green I had 2 full rest days with only a few minutes devoted to some time on the foam roller - stretching! The rest of the week looks like this:

Wed - 0:45 Push/run circuit around Preston Park [Done] +1:30 Club Swim
Thu - 2:00 Bike commute (1:00 hill route / 1:00 easy)
Fri - 1:00 Easy run
Sat - 1:00 Club swim
Sun - to be confirmed (hopefully aim for 1-2 hours before family trip to London)

I also need to allocate some time to replacing my front derailleur / mechanism on my road bike. The Dorking 100 mile sportive is only just over a week away (I don't intend to race this one!)

New running shoes and new SwimRun kit on its way

I decided to upgrade my trusty ASICS GT-2000 Series 7 to the new Series 8. I had run about 600km in my old shoes but had started to get some...